Symantec, which recently acquired storage vendor Veritas, announced Backup Exec 10d for Window Servers, which includes Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server, a disk-based continuous backup solution. The offering is designed to eliminate backup windows by tracking and backing up block-level file changes, the company said.Microsoft, meanwhile, announced the availability of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, a near-real time continuous data protection (CDP) suite.
There is a lot of difference between the Microsoft and Symantec solutions, said Jeremy Burton, senior vice-president of the data management group for Symantec in Mountain View, Calif.
The Microsoft solution only backs up files and it only backs up to disk, he said. Companies, however, need to backup more than files — they need to back up such things as Exchange, Burton said. Symantec’s Backup Exec is a disk-to-disk-to-tape solution.
“At one level, it’s classic Microsoft — it solves only 10 per cent of the problem,” Burton said in an interview. “There’s no reason to buy it, except to give money to the Microsoft charity.”
With Backup Exec, end users will be able to recover lost files themselves through a Web-based interface. This will present a culture shift, Burton admitted. If some people don’t deploy the end user restart feature, it won’t be the first technology that wasn’t deployed for political rather than technological reasons, he said.
Symantec also announced the availability of LiveState Recovery Suite 6.0, a hardware restoration tool that does disk-based, bare metal system recovery. LiveState can recover a lost system to a dissimilar piece of hardware and transfer systems settings, Symantec said.
This will eliminate a company’s need to maintain duplicate hardware, said Don Kleinschnitz, vice-president of infrastructure management solutions at Symantec. There are many threats facing companies today, including user error, hardware failures, malicious attacks and environmental disasters, he said.
The risks of not managing your information are severe, Burton said.
The main reason small- and medium-sized businesses don’t implement backup and recovery solutions is they think it’s too costly and too difficult. It’s neither, he said. Backup Exec 10d pricing starts at US$795 and licenses for Continuous Protection Agent are available at US$295. Updates for Backup Exec 10d are available for free. A Continuous Protection Starter Pack including Backup Exec 10d, the Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server and three Continuous Protection Agents is available for US$995.
It’s important to keep tape as a tertiary-level of backup because tapes can be removed offsite, Burton said.
“There’s a religious debate over what’s cheaper — disk or tape,” he said, adding that for long-term storage, tape is cheaper. “Disks are great until you get a site outage.”
According to Gartner, failures are more likely to occur in tape than disk environments because human intervention is needed for tapes.
Disks will be the primary means of recovery, said Gartner managing vice-president Ray Paquet in a Symantec-sponsored press briefing at the conference.
This doesn’t mean the end of tape, he said. It will move from secondary to tertiary storage.
Gartner predicts that by 2008, companies will be able to recover storage from any point in time and that through 2015, managing the recovery of static data will be the most dynamic enterprise storage challenge.

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